Long before I arrived in France, I decided that today I’d go to Chartres.
Chartres is a beautiful little medieval city about 70 miles outside of Paris. To get there, first I had to hop the métro to the Gare Montparnasse train station. This conductor quietly rehearsed his score on the way.
Then, I had to navigate the maze-like train station, figure out where to buy my tickets, find the train, and be on board—40 minutes from the moment I walked out my apartment’s door.
I couldn’t believe I’d made it as I settled in behind some Japanese tourists, with just two minutes to spare.
The hour-long trip flew by as quickly as the scenery outside. Before I knew it, I could see the cathedral’s uneven spires. But first I needed lunch. Sushi! Mmmm.
Many of Chartres’ old buildings attest to the city’s influential past. I loved the architectural details (even if not all of them were authentic) …
… the people-watching …
… and the ancient, winding streets.
But the main reason I came to Chartres was to see its magnificent cathedral. It boggles the mind to think of the resources that went into building it, and to consider what it must have been like in the 1400 or 1500s to see the cathedral’s imposing silhouette on the horizon.
Chartres’ claim to fame is its stained-glass windows. Although the panels on both ends of the nave were unfortunately covered up for restoration, there was still plenty of the famous “Chartres blue” to go around.
One window had lost a few tiny sections of its stained glass. I loved the way that the light streamed through the holes.
I also climbed some 400 stone steps …
… for a spectacular view from the top.
Not a bad way to spend a day outside Paris.
Want to see more? Here’s the full gallery:
Back with more tomorrow …